Sunday 17 December 2017

AIL a solid base for rising stars

For those so privileged to be present at Templeville Road last Saturday, the AIL Division 1A game made for extraordinary viewing.

St Mary's (last year's beaten finalists) put their slow start to the season behind them, demolishing eight-time winners Shannon 53-0.

And such was the totality of the home club's performance -- backs and forwards interchanging seamlessly -- that it will take some effort to better it for the remainder of the campaign.

St Mary's coaches Ciaran Potts and Stevie Hennessy will not see it that way, you can bet. But, no matter how they dress it up, this Mary's performance was scintillating.

It was difficult not to feel for off-colour Shannon. Full credit to Parish coach Colm Tucker for calling it as it was.

St Mary's have some seriously good young players. The Ruddock brothers -- Rhys and Ciaran -- as well as loose-head Jack McGrath and reserve out-half Ian McKinley are four set for greater things.

Bear in mind that Darragh Fanning has just moved on from Mary's to Connacht. That is what the AIL and club rugby should be all about -- player development.

Those who propagate academies ahead of the real club thing need certifying.

Irish Independent

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